Magazine article Opera Canada

Calgary Opera

Magazine article Opera Canada

Calgary Opera

Article excerpt

Calgary Opera opened its 2015/16 season in the most lyrical manner possible with a near-pristine performance of Leo Delibes' Lakme. The production owed much of its success to Mark Thompson's sumptuous sets and fine costumes, effectively transporting the audience to India at a time of rebellion against the mid-19th-century British Raj. A strong cast and great orchestra, well conducted by Gordon Gerrard, made all the difference, too.

The romantic, Eurocentric potboiler tells the tale of a British soldier, Gerald, sung by American tenor Ryan MacPherson, who faces off against an angry Brahmin, Nilakantha, sung forcibly well by the resonant bass Valerian Ruminski, who is unable to practice his Hindu faith due to British oppression.

Gerald falls for Nilakantha's unwitting daughter, the priestess Lakme, sung by soprano Aline Kutan. When Gerald dares to speak to Lakme, he only narrowly escapes detection by Lakme's father, who angrily seeks revenge against Gerald for his blasphemy.

Kutan performed the famous, pressure-filled, coloratura "Bell Aria" with inestimable suavity, navigating the perils of the bell-like triads and vocal pyrotechnics with complete security, ringing off a high A flat and a C over high C to dazzling effect. …

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